5 Debuts to Look Forward to at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show

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The City of Angeles, the Big Orange, the Entertainment Capital of the World. Call it whatever you like, Los Angeles is Los Angeles.

5 Debuts to Look Forward to at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show

In 1781, L.A. was founded by 44 settlers as “El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora la Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula.” As of 2016, however, population skyrocketed to 18.6 million people living in the larger metropolitan region. And with the advent of the internal combustion engine, the second-largest city in the U.S. also morphed into an idiosyncratic confluence of car nuts.

Los Angeles’ love for all things with four wheels and a gasoline-fed engine extends beyond the Petersen Automotive Museum. Needless to say, there is a lot more to L.A.’s car culture than the rental Ferraris and Lamborghinis roaming up and down Rodeo Drive. To us gearheads, a centerpiece of this city’s affinity for cars can be found on the grounds of the L.A. Auto Show.

What started life as a 99-vehicle display in 1907 is now the launching pad for the latest and the greatest cars coming courtesy of world-class brands. This year’s edition of the show is, as expected, packed with debuts. And the five most anticipated cars you should look forward to at the L.A. Auto Show are:

2017 Alfa Romeo Stelvio (Tipo 949 D-SUV)

5 Debuts to Look Forward to at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show

Stelvio means many things to many people. In the case of this Alfa Romeo, the Stelvio handle was chosen to underline the dynamic capabilities of the compact luxury crossover SUV. Named after the swerving Stelvio Pass in Italy, the Stelvio is Alfa Romeo’s first-ever venture into SUV territory.

The Alfa Romeo 1900 M “Matta” AR 52 from the ‘50s doesn’t count, chiefly because it’s nothing more than a no-frills military machine converted for civilians. Also, too few Mattas were produced to make an impact on Alfa’s automotive legacy. The Stelvio, thankfully, is very different from the Matta.

Building on the Ferrari know-how that went into the Giulia compact executive sedan, the 2017 Alfa Romeo Stelvio in Quadifoglio flavor has all the makings of a stupendously quick and exciting machine. For those who don’t want a 2.9-liter twin-turbo V6 blunderbuss with 503 horsepower on tap, the Stelvio will be made available with 2.0-liter turbo and 2.2-liter turbo diesel engines.

2018 Jaguar I-Pace Concept

5 Debuts to Look Forward to at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show

“I-What Now?” For all intents and purposes, the I-Pace will be Jaguar’s biggest leap forward in recent memory. It all comes down to one detail: it’s the first-ever electric vehicle produced by the British company. The car pictured here isn’t it, though. As the name suggests, it's merely a concept.

Slated to be presented in production-ready guise late 2017 for the 2018 model year, the I-Pace is expected to borrow a considerable lot of styling cues, techy stuff, and powertrain components from the I-Pace Concept. In terms of motivation, the I-Pace Concept makes use of two electric motors.

With 395 ponies and 516 lb-ft on tap, as well as all-wheel-drive, the I-Pace Concept promises “exceptional ride quality, authentic handling, and a 0 to 60 mph time of around 4 seconds.” Range-wise, Jaguar is gunning for more than 220 miles (EPA) or more than 500 kilometers (NEDC) from a 90 kWh battery.

2017 Mercedes-Maybach S650 Cabriolet

5 Debuts to Look Forward to at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show

If the 2017 Mercedes-Maybach S650 Cabriolet had a voice, I imagine that it would introduce itself with a famous quote from French fashion designer Coco Chanel: “Luxury is a necessity that begins where necessity ends.” And from the teaser pics provided via Twitter, it certainly looks like the 2017 Mercedes-Maybach S650 Cabriolet can talk the talk and walk the walk.

At heart, this thing here is a Mercedes-AMG S65 Convertible. But as you can see from the “1 of 300” lettering on the center console, this ultra-luxury version of the S65 Convertible is a whole lot more exclusive than the AMG-branded model. The S650 designation and the description that accompanies the brand’s teaser video offer a clue as to what is lurking underneath the hood.

The advertised mileage of 12 l/100 km combined is a clear indicator that this luxobarge is animated by a 6.0-liter twin-turbo V12 with 621 horsepower and an electronically limited peak torque of 738 pound-feet, all of them sent to the rear axle. In other words, the S650 Cabriolet is neck and neck with the Bentley Continental GT Speed Convertible as far as firepower is concerned.

2017 Mazda CX-5

5 Debuts to Look Forward to at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show

Since it made its debut in 2011, Mazda sold more than a million CX-5s all across this big blue planet we call Earth. But despite its commercial success, the model that introduced the Kodo – Soul of Motion design language will be reimagined from the ground up at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show.

For the second generation of the CX-5, the manufacturer “has refined all aspects of its award-winning compact SUV’s design and technology to deliver new dimensions of driving joy.” What Mazda is trying to tell us is that this is a matter of Darwinian evolution, not a matter of reinventing the wheel. 

Other than the new CX-5, the Japanese brand has another surprise for those who will visit the Mazda booth at the show. All we know about it at the present moment can be summed like this: “Mazda Prototype (race car).”

2018 Volkswagen Atlas

5 Debuts to Look Forward to at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show

It’s been years since Volkswagen promised to make a three-row SUV for the North American market, way back before the whole Dieselgate fiasco came into being. Eventually, the Atlas did happen. Thanks to a length of 198.3 inches (5.03 meters) and intelligent packaging, the Atlas is described as “a true seven-seater with a real third row, not one just for children.”

Built on VW’s MQB platform, the Atlas will have its market launch in the spring of 2017 for the 2018 model year. The family-oriented SUV will be offered with a choice of two engines: 2.0-liter TSI with 238 horsepower or 280 horsepower 3.6-liter VR6. Both powerplants are matched with an 8-speed automatic tranny, but only the VR6 comes with 4Motion all-wheel-drive.

A make or break moment for Volkswagen’s U.S. division, the Atlas will take on the likes of the Mazda CX-9 and GMC Acadia. To do this, the automaker will gladly equip the Atlas with goodies such as a 12.3-inch digital display instead of the standard instrument cluster, but only as long as the price is right.Special mentions
Other nameplates you should definitely check out at the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show are the second-generation MINI Countryman, the utterly brutal Mercedes-AMG E63 4Matic+, the second-gen Audi A5 Coupe, the Indian-made Ford EcoSport, as well as the track-bred Porsche 911 RSR racing car.

And as a brief refresher, the show opens to the public on November 18.

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